After reading Donald Westlake's The Hot Rock (read my review), a humorous crime novel about a gang of professional thieves who repeatedly bungle a jewel heist, I picked up Westlake's The Hunter, a much less funny, but equally enjoyable, 1962 novel about a sociopathic thief named Parker, who is the main character in many of Westlake's crime stories. (Westlake wrote the Parker series under the pen name Richard Stark, one of many pen names he adopted during his prolific career.)
The Hunter is about Parker's quest to get revenge on a partner who ripped him off and tried to have him killed right after Parker and his crew robbed a gang of arms smugglers. Parker doesn't let anyone impede his mission, even if it means killing an innocent person who just happens to be in the way.
At one point while reading The Hunter I contemplated abandoning it because I was bothered by Parker's psychotic disregard for human life, but two reasons kept me going. One, the people that Parker is going after are even more despicably inhuman than he is. And two, Westlake is such a terrific writer I couldn't stop myself from reading to find our what happens.
Parker fits in with the current crop of charismatic sociopaths that headline shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and Dexter. I guess their appeal is that even though they are awful people, they have just enough humanity to make you care what happens to them without actually rooting for them. It takes a skilled writer to create bad people that you care about, and Westlake is one of the greats. I've started the second novel in the Parker series. I'll let you know what I think when I'm finished reading it.
The Hunter: A Parker Novel, by Richard Stark
After this year’s San Diego Comic Con, I talked to Joelle Jones, the artist and creator of Lady Killer, a hit comic about Josie Schuller, a midecentury housewife who also happens to be a professional killer. Read on to find out the secret long con of Jones’ career, the difference between drawing and writing, and […]
Amazon’s book editors compiled their list of “100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime.” It’s a compelling list, even if they skipped two of my favorite SF authors, JG Ballard and Rudy Rucker. Who else did they miss? Share in the comments! “100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in […]
In 1969, my friend Jacques Vallee published Passport To Magonia, the first study of how modern UFO sightings are just the latest interpretation of weird “visitation” experiences that people throughout history have experienced in different forms: angels, demons, fairies, devils, Our Lady of Fatima, and on and on. (No, Jacques doesn’t think UFOs are extraterrestrials […]
It’s time for a power upgrade — throw out that tired-out power strip and swap in this family-size USB charger, packed with 6 high-speed ports. With a built-in control chip, Kinkoo optimizes each port to ensure the fastest charging possible for all your devices. The Kinkoo is made from high-grade and durable materials so you […]
Watching Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services can unfortunately be difficult while traveling outside the US. Rather than bypass these restrictions with the help of a complex and slow VPN, choose a faster and simpler solution with Getflix. Instead of rerouting all your Internet traffic through a different server, this handy service only routes the […]
Shake, stir, and muddle your way to delicious homemade cocktails with this must-have bar set. Expect only the finest quality tools from MakersKit — enabling you to unleash your inner mixologist.Top 12 Favorite Things of 2014, Sunset MagazineQuart-size vintage-style Mason jar shakerRetro double jigger for accurate measurementsStrainer & spouts for a mixologist-style smooth pourHardwood muddler […]